The Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 (the Charter) outlines arrangements under which the Secretaries to the Treasury and the Department of Finance (the Secretaries) may be requested to cost election commitments during the caretaker period prior to a general election. The Charter also allows for the Secretaries to jointly issue written guidelines recommending approaches or methods to be used in the preparation of such costings.

The Charter of Budget Honesty Policy Costing Guidelines (the Guidelines) outline the process for submitting and preparing policy costings. Since last released in 2012, the Guidelines have been reviewed to ensure they reflect current costing policies and guidance.

The Guidelines have also been streamlined to remove unnecessary and duplicated content, providing a succinct document which more closely aligns with its legislative purpose. Specifically the Guidelines focus on matters directly relating to the methods and approaches as required by subclause 30(1) of the Charter. Information on the role of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) previously included can now be accessed from the PBO website.

The changes made do not alter the comprehensive and robust methods and approaches established by Treasury and the Department of Finance (Finance) for the preparation of policy costings outside of a caretaker period. The methods and approaches used by Treasury and Finance to prepare policy costings outside a caretaker period are the same as those used for preparing policy costings of election commitments during a caretaker period.

John A. Fraser
Secretary to the Treasury

Jane Halton, AO PSM
Secretary of the Department of Finance